Welcome to the Gallery

Imagine is set in the Suffolk village of Long Melford.
This is an attempt to record the daily trials, tribulation and pleasure of running an art gallery.

Friday 16 October 2015

Autumn in Paris

This post was supposed to have been about some of the varied works that we have received between 
the recent exhibitions.
As usual time is slipping through my fingers while I am occupied with daily events
Office work, picture framing and of course visitors.
Sometimes I become buried under so many other things I forget that it is the visitors through the door
who are the most important people in the building.
On many occasions they also contribute to the most enjoyable part of the day.
When people have a genuine interest in the different works and ask questions about the art and artists
it makes for a very enjoyable day.
These are the people who come back time and again.
On occasions they might purchase and that is a bonus but it is their genuine interest
that makes for a rewarding day.

Unfortunately it has been the "office" work that has been occupying most of my time recently.
It tends to creep up on me slowly until I suddenly realise I am engulfed by it.
I had no understanding that this is what I had signed up for 10 years ago when we first opened.

So, intentions of doing one or two posts about the new arrivals have disappeared.
I started to remember that we have another new exhibition soon to open which had not received a mention.
With a little more than a week to spare here is that first mention.

You may remember that much earlier in the year I visited Paris to meet with two very different artists.
This new exhibition is a result of that trip.

The painter Agnus Boulloche and Elisabeth Dupin Sjostedt the sculptor 
will be sharing a joint exhibition with us.

At a glance it is obvious that they are artists working in very different styles, they are also two very successful artists who are exhibited in exhibitions throughout Europe on an almost "back to back basis".
I had been hoping to hold two individual exhibitions but both had so many commitments
that their only available dates coincided.
So with a little thought [about 30 seconds] I decided that this could make for a very interesting
joint exhibition.
So dates were agreed and in a weeks time it is to happen.

Of course this will lead to its many difficulties as I appreciate that the artists involved are not as
multi-lingual as moi.
Hey Ho, I will have to take it in my stride.
As soon as I mention "Je ne parle pas Francais".
Not only will they be stunned but it will make life a lot easier.
Of course I will toss in the occasional "ma cherie", and maybe hum a Charles Aznavour song which 
I am positive will put them at ease, they will think that they are back in Paris not Long Melford.

"Autumn in Paris"
Why is that the name for the exhibition?
No reason at all except that is the location that I met with both artists, although they both own other homes in France, Paris was the location that we first met.
And, of course it is Autumn, plus it sounds romantic [a little like myself].

In seriousness both artists are incredible and I truly appreciate that I have been allowed to exhibit
their art in England.
Of course an exhibition like this does cause lots of transport problems and it does weigh heavily on my mind what I am requesting from both artists.
However I have been very fortunate
Elisabeth has volunteered to deliver her sculptures in person, plus I have discovered an
"Englishman In Paris"
who has collected the paintings from Agnes and delivered them here.

These paintings have been the reason for me being so occupied with framing.
But that has been good.
Lacking sufficient "short term" storage space, I have been standing the paintings against the walls of the gallery as they were framed.
The interest and result has been fantastic.
Two have sold before reaching the walls in a weeks time.
I am expecting a similar reaction when the sculptures are delivered, it makes me understand why both artists are so collected throughout Europe.
Now for the first time they are exhibiting here in England, in Suffolk, in my gallery.

It is such a shame that they have not learned the language as well as myself.
Practise makes perfect and I will have to allow for this "ma petit pois".

Saturday 10 October 2015

Exhibition in Progress

This is the current exhibition that still has another week to run.
Obvious from the invitation cover above it is an exhibition of the art by
Blandine Anderson
A ceramic sculptor who lives in a very remote part of Devon.

For six years I have wanted to show her paintings and sculptures so this was an ambition realised.
Which shows that with perseverance some wishes do come true

Her exhibition was focused upon wildlife that is rapidly disappearing from around the world,
more importantly the animals that are common to us both from the East to the West of Britain.
Many species of animal that we take for granted, not exotic wildlife just the "everyday animals that
we always expect to see on our journeys into the countryside.
Hares, sheep, deer, birds................
A long list of animals that are in decline.

This exhibition has been a real pleasure.
Blandine drove for ten hours to be here in time for the opening,
she then spent hours talking with her many admirers.

One collector spoke with her for so long [over an hour] that I thought that I should perhaps offer to rescue her so that she could relax for a little while.
"No, I'm enjoying the conversation with him".
This was a relief, first to know she didn't want a break, secondly that the interest from people was important to her.
It all made for an enjoyable relaxed and happy opening.
Although not too relaxing for her, as a few short hours later she was in her car driving home to arrive there in time for a full day on her farm the next morning.

The scale of her sculptures varied considerably
From miniature pieces in porcelain to very grand sculptures made in stoneware, each piece finely detailed.
From photographs it is hard to determine which sculpture is 6cm tall and which is 60cm
the only indication is the different pricing, in my opinion much of it too low but this is what she wanted.
There was something for everyone.
As a result there have been many happy visitors.

We have intended to purchase some sculptures for ourselves
But as each day passes our choice has become more and more restricted as piece after piece is sold

I had hoped to own a small porcelain Hare sculpture but I have gone from "first favourite"
to "sixth favourite" and I am sure that before the exhibition ends it will be
"tenth favourite" or nothing remaining.

So far it has been a very enjoyable exhibition which has received daily praise.
We have been told on a few occasions how fresh, different, and cohesive it all looks, which it does.

But with each passing day another lovely piece leaves us for good.
Today another "very good" wildlife sculptor visited
"I have got to buy a piece", he told me.
He did, and now unfortunately my own choice is becoming smaller, but is good to learn that her work is admired and collected by such a well known artist.

So, I can imagine a conversation with Irene at the close of the exhibition.
"We are going to have that piece"
"why that one"
"Because it's the only bloody thing remaining".

Which will be a nice end to a good exhibition.

Friday 9 October 2015

I have a lot of catching up to do.
Since last I wrote we have opened then finished one exhibition, we have another drawing to a close
and when that comes to a finish we have another that is approaching all too quickly.
This all interspersed with the frequent arrivals of beautiful pieces of non exhibition work
Is it possible that I maybe I have planned more than I can cope with?

No, of course not, a good dose of stress is good for you
[in moderation].

So I will do a few quick catch up posts in the attempt to bring you up to date on what has passed.
This is going to frustrate me as I just want to talk about what is happening today.
I will do that tomorrow
[or the day after or the next.........]

The Ceramics of Maureen Minchin

That is the exhibition that has passed, and although I shouldn't say it I am glad it is over.
Without a doubt it takes the prize for being the most stressful [on many levels]
exhibition we have held.
Of course it was a great success because it was Maureen Minchin.
A ceramist who has become one of the most collected potters in the UK, this is because she has worked
for many years to make this happen.
From her early days as an East Anglian potter, selling to the local population at giveaway prices she is now very sought after by galleries around the country.
All of them anticipating quick "sell out" exhibitions on their own terms.

Indeed they have created a culture of numbered "tickets" and number of pieces allowed per person.
This in turn has created queues and individuals bringing disinterested friends who will queue with them
just so that they can increase there allocation of ceramics.
We opted to go against this and to treat it as a normal exhibition, it just didn't seem fair that we should
have say to a customer who perhaps attends all of our events "sorry because you are number 25 there will be nothing left for you, but please come to our next exhibition".

I'm sure many people will think that I was wrong, but that's OK they can go and open their own gallery.

Personally, I would never attend an exhibition in the knowledge that if I wasn't there hours
before the opening then perhaps I would be only left with the second best.
I feel that if you are there on time at the opening then it should be equal opportunity.
It certainly never takes me long to spot the piece that is special to me.

So, yes of course we did have people outside hours before the opening, but when the door was opened
for us it was business as usual!

Unfortunately it wasn't, interest and politeness vanished.
There was pushing shoving, lots of shouting and even more rudeness
including many comments about myself.

Of course this was from the minority the keen "collectors"?
Those who purchase quantity not quality.
It was not an enjoyable experience.
In fact when Maureen arrived she was almost ignored, I'm sure that some people thought she was just another "punter" who might purchase a piece before they did.

As the afternoon passed more people arrived who had a genuine interest in Maureen and her work,
And of course they were still able to find a piece to cherish, more importantly
they had the pleasure of talking with Maureen at length.
In fact many long time collectors came just to talk with her, they didn't need to purchase as they already have a full collection of her work.
This was when the day became more relaxed and enjoyable.

In fact the majority of the major pieces sold over the next two days so why the big panic at the start
I just don't know.

The day finished as a great success but it had not been enjoyable.
The ceramics were wonderful but not the experience.
Still we both have time to ponder on the future as she only shows with a handful of galleries 
who are on a rota for exhibitions.
So in five years time who knows?

At least I have another piece for my own small collection
What's more
I didn't need a ticket number to purchase it.